Superlative Sunday :: the 2016 SAG Awards and my thoughts on them

1 Feb

Here’s the thing.  14 awards were given on this show last night.

Six of them (if you include the cast of Orange is the New Black, which is notably and emphatically diverse) went to actors of color, specifically black actors.

“I sense a theme,” said someone I was watching with, around the time of Viola Davis’ win.  He then went on to point out that, in what he deemed protest of the recent “controversy about the Oscars” (said in a tone that it was in fact a “controversy,” not a controversy, but I could be wrong because I have not otherwise discussed that issue with him, because contrary to his belief I do not enjoy being angry), all of the black actors who had been nominated up to that point had won.

Keep in mind that statistically, 8 of the winners were white people.  That’s still more white winners.  The cast of Spotlight got cast of a film (as I’m sure they deserved, from what I’ve heard) when there were multiple predominantly black casts nominated.  Male Actor in a Comedy Series went to a white cis man playing a trans woman, and one of the nominees for Male Actor in a Leading Role – Film was  Etcetera.

And as he continued to theorize, I pointed out that “I don’t hear you get mad when all the winners are white people.”  “I’m not mad,” he said, or implied, I’m not remembering, “and that doesn’t happen that much any more, anyway.”  (Reader, I laughed.)

Last night at the SAG Awards multiple actors of color were commended for their performances.  I admit I have not actually seen any of these performances in any great detail, but from what I know of the actors and from what I’ve heard about the performances, the awards were thoroughly well-deserved.  Maybe they all won because of a radical SAG protest against the Oscars.  But maybe, and again I’m just supposing, they were all deserving, more so than the other actors in their categories or at least equally much with a few more favorite votes.  Maybe Idris Elba really is two-SAG-Awards-in-a-night talented.  (From what little I know of him, he is.)  Maybe Uzo Aduba should keep winning all of the awards ever.  Maybe multiple POC actors can win awards at the same show without it being shocking.

Aforementioned person romanticized a theoretical future where we as human beings are “above” race.  Where it doesn’t matter if the winners of ultimately inconsequential award shows are white or black or brown or what-have-you.  I bit my tongue so I didn’t point out that in this particular case, maybe it wasn’t just the political protest he imagined, but also so I didn’t point out that that’s really not something he has any right to say, given that he is already the cultural “default” race (white).

Congratulations, Idris, Uzo, Queen Latifah, Viola Davis.  Congratulations also to Brie Larson, who I am very proud of even though I haven’t seen her film yet.  Congratulations to the stunt ensembles of Game of Thrones and Fury Road, who were not awarded on the show last night but were awarded.  And yeah, Oscars, take note.

–your fangirl heroine.


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